Whatever our views on the war, unite to help build the new Iraq

Observer letter
Henry Porter is entitled to reprise his arguments against the intervention in Iraq (“Those who say history will absolve the Iraq warmongers are deluded”, Comment).
Those in favour could also argue that a genocidal and fascistic regime can no longer murder its own people or menace its neighbours. But those who took opposing views could unite to assist the actually existing Iraq to overcome the legacy of dictatorship, war, sanctions and occupation.
It’s too soon to know whether their democratic experiment will succeed. In the meantime, surely it is important to support Iraqi trade unionists who remain saddled with Saddam’s restrictions, to support women’s groups and to respond to the appeals, which I have heard in six visits to Iraq since 2006, for increased trade, investment and other exchanges so that they can pull in external expertise and overcome their long isolation from modernity.
Yet many simply ignore Iraqis in favour of a bitter and largely domestic debate. Whatever history says about the intervention, it will also judge whether we did enough to help Iraq afterwards.
Gary Kent
Director, Labour Friends of Iraq